Understanding Terpenes: Geraniol

Diehard fans of fruity or sweetly floral scents like berries or roses may not be aware that they have an affinity for a terpene called geraniol that is also found in cannabis and a variety of other plants, herbs and fruits. As the name suggests, it occurs naturally in geraniums as well as in roses, lemongrass, peaches, passion fruit, blackberries, blueberries, coriander, nutmeg, bergamot, lemon peels and even carrots. Bees also naturally produce geraniol in their scent-producing glands and use the aroma of it to mark their territories against other colonies.

Geraniol is a primary part of rose oil, palmarosa oil and citronella oil. The aroma and flavor has a range of sweet notes from sugary and rosy to citrus. Its taste is often used in different foods as an enhancer and flavoring agent to reproduce the flavor of several fruits in desserts like candies and ice cream and the smell can commonly be found in all types of bath, body and beauty products from lotions, creams and perfumes to soap and detergent.

The terpene has a variety of medicinal and therapeutic uses as well. It’s a natural antioxidant that has anti-cancer and anti-tumor properties that can be useful in treating many different types of cancer. The International Journal of Oncology published a study that provides evidence that geraniol could discourage tumorous cell growth in oral, colon, lung, prostate, breast, pancreatic and liver cancer. Plus, it has anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties that can help reduce infections. In a study published by a medical journey called Lipids, geraniol is shown to be effective at inhibiting the growth of certain types of fungus.

Geraniol has also been shown to be anti-viral, anti-inflammatory, antispasmodic and have a lot of potential as a neuroprotectant. A study published by the Journal of Neuroscience research showed that the terpene can be useful in treating neuropathy which is common among people who have diabetes or are pre-diabetic. The condition damages the peripheral nerves and causes numbness, weakness, pain or loss of sensitivity in the hands and feet. In the experiment, geraniol was able to lower enhanced cytosolic calcium levels and acetylcholinesterase activity, reduce levels of protein carbonyls and nitrates and restore the activities of enzymes.

It’s common for strains with high linalool profiles to be rich in geraniol as well. A few strains that have geraniol in them include Afghan (a calming hybrid that’s good for an euphoric, balanced buzz), Headband (a pain-relieving hybrid that helps with depression, anxiety and headaches), Amnesia Haze (a citrusy sativa strain that’s uplifting and energizing), Great White Shark (a heavy-hitting sativa that will reduce stress and improve bad moods) and Sweet Skunk (a potent hybrid that leans more towards a cerebral high).

According to Steep Hill Labs, geraniol is also closely related to another terpene called citronellol which has “used as a natural mosquito repellent for over 2,000 years.” Because it’s used by honey bees to mark nectar-bearing flowers and help find their way back to their hives, geraniol is known to attract them, but it also be used as an effective insect repellent for things other than mosquitoes as well including flies, roaches, fire ants and ticks. So, if you’re ever smoking outside during the summer and wonder why bees are buzzing around you, it may be because they’re getting a whiff of the geraniol in the strain you’re enjoying. But, at least it might keep the mosquitoes and flies away for a little bit.

The post Understanding Terpenes: Geraniol appeared first on Cannabis Now.

5 Herbal Blends to Pair with Your Cannabis

People have been using plants and herbs casually and medicinally since the beginning of time to improve the quality of their lives. Just like cannabis, different herbs each have their own unique flavor profiles, distinct fragrances and healing properties that can boost your mood, give you some energy, help you focus, ease pain or reduce stress. Combining herbs with cannabis to create a customized herbal blend gives you an opportunity to introduce additional healing compounds into your sessions without missing out on the high.

There’s no right or wrong way to create and enjoy an herbal blend. They can be smoked in whatever way you prefer whether it’s rolled up, in a bowl, in a bong or in a vape. You can choose any herb you want and pair it with whatever strain you want, but it’s cool to try to pair strains and herbs based on terpenes, flavors or effects.

You just have to make sure that whatever herb you’re choosing is safe to be inhaled and that you make it a priority to get the highest quality (preferably organic) option that’s available. Each herb can be used in any ratio you desire (heavy on the cannabis or heavy on the herbs) but it’s best to put all of it into a grinder to evenly mix everything together before smoking for the best flavor and so that it burns well.

Try starting out with some of these herbal blends and then branch out to make your own after you get the hang of it.

Lavender & Chamomile

If you’re feeling too overwhelmed to get to sleep, both of these herbs can help soothe the nervous system and encourage your body to rest. Lavender has a terpene called linalool in it that is known for its sedative properties that can reduce stress, anxiety and feelings of depression. Try pairing this blend with an indica to compliment the flavors of the herbs and help ease you into deeper relaxation.

Peppermint & White Sage

This refreshing blend would work well with an energizing sativa to enhance the mood-boosting effects of peppermint and sage. Both herbs can help improve digestive problems like a stomach ache or gas as well as respiratory issues like congestion. Sage is also known to improve memory function, so it might be able to you keep your focus during a day.

Rose & Jasmine Blossom

Fans of strains that smell and taste floral will find these two flowers make a good match with their strain of choice. Jasmine has a light, pleasant essence that compliments the roses that have geraniol in them which is known to be a natural antioxidant that has anti-cancer and anti-tumor properties. Find a fruity or berry strain that will fit well with the sweet flavor profile.

Blue Lotus & Damiana

Damiana is considered a natural aphrodisiac that helps increase arousal while blue lotus is often attributed to pleasant dreaminess that makes you feel deeply relaxed. Both of these herbs are known to have calming, sedative properties that produce a very mild euphoria and would work well with a hybrid strain that offers a balanced buzz. Some people report having vivid dreams after smoking blue lotus.

Eucalyptus & Mullein

Though sometimes smoking is the last thing you feel like doing when you’re congested and not feeling well, this combo can help with breathing issues and encourage what’s referred to as “effective coughing” as an expectorant. Eucalyptus has a terpene called eucalyptol in it which has anti-inflammatory, antispasmodic and anti-fungal properties as well as myrcene which is antibiotic, antimutagenic and an effective muscle relaxant. Use this blend when you need a powerful lung cleanser.

TELL US, have you ever thought about blending cannabis with other herbs?

The post 5 Herbal Blends to Pair with Your Cannabis appeared first on Cannabis Now.

Weed Wordsearch – Cannabis Terpenes

Today’s Weed Wordsearch is all about cannabis terpenes! Terpenes are organic hydrocarbons found in the essential oils of plants. Within the cannabis plant, there are many different terpenes. Each strain contains a unique blend, producing a unique aroma. Studies to discover the benefits and therapeutic value have only just begun but one thing is certain, […]

The post Weed Wordsearch – Cannabis Terpenes appeared first on Latest Cannabis News Today – Headlines, Videos & Stocks.

The Rise of CBD Strains

In the southern Oregon town of Takilma — a longtime hippie enclave just above the California border in the foothills of the Siskiyou Mountains — one farm is focused on developing new strains of cannabis. Their mission is not to breed for maximum THC or any particularly trendy flavor expression, but to create strains with an optimal balance between CBD, THC and various terpenes to achieve tailored effects.

The farm is called East Fork Cultivars, and its CEO Mason Walker is a former journalist and editor at the Portland Business Journal who himself uses medical marijuana to control his pain from a serious neck injury in his youth.

“Our roots are in the medical approach to cannabis breeding,” Walker says. “We started selecting varieties high in CBD for therapeutic effect.”

Pineapple Tsu: 13.7% CBD / 0.5% THC

In order to create strains that can best address specific ailments, East Fork Cultivars has focused on cultivating under three broad categories. First, they’re growing out “CBD-dominant” varieties to find phenotypes that typically have less than 1 percent THC and subtle effects, including with Ringo’s Gift, Sour Tsunami and Cenarius. Second, they’re cultivating “CBD-rich” varieties have high CBD content but also around 5 percent THC, including Bubba Kush and an East Fork original strain, Pineapple Jager. Third, they’re growing “THC-dominant” varieties that are the more typically potent strains that outlaw growers long strove for, including Strawberry Satori.

With this spectrum of cannabinoid concentrations, Walker says their selections appeal to “new cannabis consumers who are curious,” but not necessarily looking to get high.

Each fall, the team at East Fork Cultivars harvests one acre of CBD-rich cannabis from its farm in Southern Oregon’s Illinois River Valley.

Through their work developing a wide range of CBD-rich phenotypes and breeding new strains, East Fork is at the forefront of the larger CBD trend, trying to ensure that the increasing crowds of cannabis consumers looking for CBD strains have more options to choose from than the handful currently on the market.

“We’re still early on in our breeding work,” Walker says. “Of our 15 top-selling varieties, three of them we bred ourselves and the other 12 are well-established varieties that someone else bred — but we expect that number to basically flip in the next two years.”

From Llamas to Cannabis

Flowers grow between the rows at East Fork Cultivars.

East Fork was started by the brothers Nathan and Aaron Howard. Aaron, now the company’s chief operations officer, moved from his native Portland to southern Oregon about 10 years ago to grow cannabis under the state’s medical program. (Oregon voted to legalize medical marijuana in 1998, the second state to do so after California.) He initially cultivated as caregiver for a third brother, Wesley, who suffered from neurofibromatosis and epilepsy.

In 2015, Aaron was among the first cultivators in the country to start growing high-CBD strains, and the following year, purchased the 9-acre property in Takilma. At the time, the property was a llama ranch, so the East Fork team inherited three llamas along with the land. The animals have since passed on, but the company’s logo is still a llama — and the laser focus on CBD has not wavered.

Bubba Kush: 13.3 % CBD / 5.9 % THC

“We supply CBD-rich cannabis to other companies who turn it into infused products,” Walker says. “We extract oils for chocolate bars, topical salves, tinctures and beverages.”

Walker says that East Fork is shying away from selling cannabis flowers to consumers, because he thinks the end of cannabis prohibition is changing the way people want to ingest the plant.

“Back during Prohibition [in the 1920s and ’30s], people wanted high-potency moonshine,” says Walker. “With cannabis prohibition, there was the same secretiveness and incentive for high-potency stuff. Now that we’re moving out of prohibition, people are demanding more types of cannabis that are more nuanced. The same way we’re consuming more wine and beer as opposed to moonshine. Nowadays, you don’t hear people say, ‘What’s your strongest stuff?’”

Breeding for CBD

In 2017, the team at East Fork Cultivars harvested 3,300 lbs of cannabis uses garden carts and bicycles.

East Fork’s most cutting-edge work is its on-site breeding program. When selecting and testing new strains, Walker says the farm is focused on creating strains with high levels of “chemical diversity.”

“The beauty of cannabis is it’s one of the most chemically complex plants on the planet,” Walker says. “We focus a lot of time and energy and money on developing the largest diversity we can, in terms of combinations of CBD and terpenes.”

He notes that the linalool terpene, which smells like lavender, is often used to reduce anxiety, while the citrus-smelling terpene limonene is said to have an energizing effect.

“Multiple terpenes have synergistic interactions with each other, creating yet new effects,” he says. “That’s what makes cannabis really fascinating.”

One of East Fork’s original strains with notable limonene content is Wesley’s Wish, named for Wesley Howard, who found the strain gave him relief from his neurofibromatosis and epilepsy before he passed away last year. It is a cross between Pineapple Tsu and Purple Hindu Kush, which Walker describes as “one of the most popular THC-heavy strains in Oregon.” But while Purple Hindu Kush is typically more than 20 percent THC, Wesley’s Wish is only some 5 percent THC and 15 percent CBD.

Wesley’s Wish: 12.7% CBD / 4.5% THC

Another emphasis of East Fork’s breeding program is to broaden the genetic pool of high-CBD strains, especially given the problem that high-CBD strains generally have smaller yields than high-THC strains.

“There’s not a lot of genetics available that are both high-CBD and high-yield, so we’re making them ourselves,” says Walker. “We’ve had a couple of hits — varieties that are high-CBD but also high-yield, and are promising in terms of appearance and other standards cannabis is generally judged by.”

East Fork has sourced their high-CBD genetics over the past five years from California, Oregon and Europe. The farm is currently expanding their genetic library by sourcing high-THC plants from Oregon growers and collaborating on breeding projects with other farms in the adult-use system, splitting the seeds at the end of the project.

ACDC: 17.9% CBD / 0.5% THC

Walker says East Fork is headed in the direction of growing entirely from seed rather than clone. This year, their ratio is about 50/50.

“Plants grown from seed have more vigor, more pest-resistance,” Walker says. “A lot of people call them a truer expression of the plant.”

East Fork is also bred with an eye on cannabinoids besides CBD and THC. Walker mentions tetrahydrocannabivarin (THCV), which is believed to have appetite-suppressing qualities. He also names cannabichromene (CBC), which has shown potential to inhibit tumor growth, and cannabigerol (CBG), which research suggests may help with vision problems such as glaucoma and intraocular pressure.

Business in the Gray Zone

Under Oregon cannabis regulations, the largest licensed cannabis grow can only cultivate up to 40,000 square feet of canopy, which is an area of just under 1 acre.

In Takilma, East Fork Cultivars has reached that 40,000 square feet canopy limit on a section of their original 9-acre plot of land. On the new 24 acres, Walker says they’re planning to grow hemp.

East Fork Cultivars Co-Founder and COO Aaron Haward prepares a cannabis bouquet, combining a fresh cannabis cola with dried straw flowers.

While CBD can also be extracted from hemp, this plant — legally defined as having less than 0.3 percent THC — falls under a different legal classification than cannabis. The cannabis strains grown on the original plot are overseen by the Oregon Liquor and Cannabis Commission, but the hemp plants on the new land will be overseen by the Oregon Department of Agriculture.

The cannabis farm is grown in a fenced-in area with a security camera system, as mandated by state law.

“The state figures the best way to keep feds at bay is to regulate the heck out of the industry,” Walker says.

The Rise of CBD Strains

Canna Tsu: 10.6% CBD / 3.3% THC

But the gray area of difference between the cannabis and hemp regulations on the federal and state levels is clearly not interfering with business. Walker says the farm brought in $830,000 in revenue last year, and is expecting $1.2 million this year.

“We sold just over 1,200 pounds of cannabis last year, and we’re on pace to sell 3,400 pounds this year—nearly triple,” he says. “About 98 percent of our sales are high-CBD strains.”

“We’re just barely starting to scratch the surface of interest in CBD,” he says. “It is having a fad moment, but I think it will have more staying power than the acai berry, for instance. I think our research over the next years will uncover extensive uses both therapeutically and in terms of just enhancing peoples’ lives.”

TELL US, what is your favorite CBD strain?

Originally published in the print edition of Cannabis Now. LEARN MORE

The post The Rise of CBD Strains appeared first on Cannabis Now.

The Cannabis Now Guide to Pairing Herbs with Your Herb

Stop for a second and think about your last smoke session. Imagine the smell after grinding up the bud, the flavor after that first full exhale and the pleasant effects that follow: a boost of energy, a wave of relaxation or a sense of peace. The unsung hero of your perfect post-high moment? Terpenes. These aromatic compounds, also found in other plants, herbs, flowers and even fruits, are key players in the taste and scent of your cannabis and the distinct buzz that follows.

Because terpenes also interact with cannabinoids to create all of the components that make up your favorite strain, adding herbs to your cannabis can enhance the consumption experience.

Depending on which herbs you use, you can boost flavor profiles, increase energy and focus, ease pain or reduce stress. There are lots of different ways to pair herbal blends with cannabis and knowing what to consider before making your own combination is crucial for coming up with the perfect mix.

Monica Fine, a California-based master herbalist, has some simple tips when it comes to matching herbs with cannabis strains. She says it’s best to use what you like in small amounts, change herbs regularly and try to use what is actually in season around you. Fine explains that any herb used in excess can be dangerous — even ones you think are the safest.

She also suggests staying away from herbs like datura, morning glory and nightshades, which are poisonous.

Unfortunately, she cautions that both burning and vaping dried herbs don’t allow you to enjoy the highest terpene content possible, because of the process of combustion and oxidation burns off terpenes. So, Fine says, tinctures are the better option when it comes to cannabis and herbal blends. Still, there are some benefits if you are interested in consuming cannabis and herbs by vaping or smoking, especially since Fine notes that smoking hits the central nervous system much faster than other delivery methods, which makes it useful for immediate relief.

Personally, Fine favors herbs like damiana, life everlasting flower and any of the artemisia family added to joints and spliffs. She is working to launch a brand that will feature sublingual extracts that utilize the powerful combination of herbs and cannabis, using formulas designed to preserve the integrity of the plants.

When it comes to picking your own herbs to pair, she refers to her mentor Jeanne Rose, a world-renowned author, herbalist and aromatherapist who suggests using herbs like rosemary and sage to dry mucus and excess secretions from the lungs and recommends trying marjoram, chamomile and gentian to help kick a tobacco habit. And of course, there are also other herbs and flowers, from peppermint and mullein to rose and jasmine blossom, that you can choose from to complement your strain of choice.

How to Combine Herbal Terpenes With Cannabis

Linalool is an anti-inflammatory, antiepileptic and analgesic terpene found in herbs like lavender and is good for pain management and reducing anxiety and stress. Pairs well with the strains Romulan, Sour Kush and Purple Urkle.

Pinene is a bronchodilator, expectorant and antimicrobial terpene found in herbs like rosemary and sage and helps with boosting focus, increasing alertness and improving airflow to the lungs. Pairs well with strains like Purple Kush, AK-47, Dutch Treat and Bay Dream.

Myrcene is an antibiotic, antimutagenic and a muscle-relaxing terpene found in herbs like eucalyptus and hops and is known for its calming properties. Pairs well with strains like Mango Kush, Granddaddy Purple, Trainwreck and Grape Ape.

Geraniol is a natural antioxidant terpene that’s antiviral, anti-inflammatory and antispasmodic. It’s found in roses and is good for adding floral flavor profile. It also has antibacterial and antifungal properties that can help reduce infections. Pairs well with strains like Afghan, Headband, Amnesia Haze and Great White Shark.

TELL US, do you go for certain taste profiles when it comes to choosing cannabis?

Originally published in Issue 39 of Cannabis Now. LEARN MORE

The post The Cannabis Now Guide to Pairing Herbs with Your Herb appeared first on Cannabis Now.